February 12, 2017
Text: Deuteronomy 30:15-20
God’s creation exists through tensions - blessings and curses; God’s commandments and the worship of other gods; life and death. God sets us in the midst of those tensions with choices that have consequences for ourselves and others. “Choose life so that you and your descendants may live.”
The created world is interconnected. Actions in one place affect all. Scientists use images such as the “butterfly effect” and “spider web” to describe this interdependence. Climate change, intensified by human actions that disregard the balance of the physical world, effects people in the world differently. People in already struggling areas experience drought made more severe by climate change, not as a nuisance, but as life-threatening. The World Food Programme estimates that 795 million people worldwide face hunger. These realities require choices that put a stop to the greater intensification of climate - for the sake of “you and your descendants.” Choosing life also means enabling people to develop drought-resistant agricultural methods, creating food security for their families and communities today. These all are choices that you make by supporting the UCC’s sustainable development ministries through the One Great Hour of Sharing Offering and Endowment.
Chan Sim and Ek Mon are among those developing resiliency in agriculture.
Chann Sim, 61, lives with his wife Ek Mon, 55, and their three children in Choam Ksant village in northern Cambodia. Sim owns a third of an acre of land for the family’s house and home gardening and another 2.5 acres where Sim plants rice. He can only plant once a year because of chronic drought. In the past, he used traditional, labor intensive methods and poor local seedlings that, unfortunately, did not produce enough food for his family.
Often the rice harvested would only last six months. In order to make up for the food shortage, Sim would go to the forest to collect wild fruit, mushrooms, bamboo shoots and wild cassava. This was incredibly risky though, because there are still lingering landmines in the forest from decades ago. To meet his family’s food needs, Sim would also earn extra income as a wage laborer planting others’ cassava.
Some years ago, when CWS had the opportunity to partner with families in his village, Sim joined the food security project as a Household Partner. He received some vegetable seeds and farming tools. He also gained valuable knowledge and training on how to grow vegetables in theface of changing climates and about chicken- and catfish-raising and mushroom growing.
Through the years, Sim has taken the initiative to learn how to improve his farm. Using his new knowledge and changed farming practice, and with material help from CWS, Sim has turned his family’s life around. In addition to fish and poultry, Sim has expanded his home garden to include several kinds of gourds, chili, eggplant, long bean, papaya, cucumber and banana. Now, with help from his wife and grown daughters, he earns just a bit more than $1,000 in a year, and he has enough to feed his family from his own farm.
Sim is now sharing his knowledge and experiences related to farming management with others in his village. He recently said, “I have gained new knowledge and skills in diversified agriculture and I have been able to increase my production. I am confident to work on my farm; and I am glad I do not have to sell my labor. Ownership is better than working for others for a daily wage!”
Pictured above: Sim growing vegetables using a drip technique. Photo from CWS.